Lidar technology pioneer Allan Carswell honoured by CSA

In recognition of his exceptional contribution to the Canadian Space Program, Allan Carswell, professor emeritus in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, was presented with the prestigious John H. Chapman Award of Excellence in a celebration held May 18 at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) that included representatives of industry, academia and government.

Allan Carswell“We are immensely proud of Canada’s accomplishments in space technologies. Carswell is an outstanding scientist and innovator,” said Carole Lacombe, acting president of the Canadian Space Agency. “With the John H. Chapman Award, the CSA honours his significant achievements and lifelong dedication to space science research and development in Canada.”

Left: Allan Carswell

An internationally recognized leader, Carswell’s name is synonymous with lasers. His groundbreaking work perfecting the lidar technology, which uses laser light pulses to precisely measure distances and diagnose components of the atmosphere, has gained wide recognition in the global scientific community. Carswell founded Optech in 1974 to develop commercial systems based on lidar technology and led the company through a dynamic growth period. Recently, the University of Arizona recognized Carswell’s expertise in lidar measurements. He was named the Canadian co-investigator on the Phoenix Science Team for the meteorological station (MET) that will be placed on Mars in 2007. The MET contains instruments that will study the exchange of volatile particles between the surface and atmosphere of the Red planet.